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上月18日,北京大興區發生大火,造成19人死亡。起火公寓位處外來勞工聚居的區域,為典型集生產經營、倉儲、住人於一體的「三合一」建築。密集的居住環境,加上雜物嚴重堆放,造成安全隱患,間接導致是次悲劇。北京當局翌日成了「全市安全隱患大排查大清理大整治專項行動」,以「安全隱患」為名,對市內外來人口聚居的地方進行清查行動,將大批「低端人口」趕出北京城外。

所謂的「低端人口」指的外來勞工,大多從事建築、快遞、清潔、保安等低收入的工作,他們離鄉別井希望在首都尋找更多發展機會。然而,受到中國的戶籍制度所限,這些基層外來工的權益不單並未有在城市發展時被考慮在內,他們教育、醫療及勞工權益亦缺乏保障。北京當局在清查行動後,否認以「低端人口」形容從事低端產業的人群;但事實上,這個詞彙早於2007年便出現在北京市政府文件中,更在民間宣傳標語中(如「清退低端人人有責」)廣泛使用。

是次行動並非無跡可尋。2012年,北京有773.8萬為外來人口,佔常住人口約37%。面對外來人口常住化對政治安全的壓力,加上配合「京津冀協同發展」整治產業結構的需要,習近平在2014年要求調整疏解非首都核心功能,並將北京市的常住人口上限定於2300萬。自此,北京當局在「加快疏解非首都功能,積極構建高精尖經濟結構」的綱領下,一方面收緊落戶政策、提高外省兒童入讀學校的門檻;另一方面,打擊低端產業,多個原本外省人做小生意的批發市場一個接一個地被要求倒閉。

這次火災以後,北京當局以粗暴的手段迫遷「低端人口」,只是將一直以來的矛盾進一步暴露於公眾眼前。政府以斷水斷電斷燃氣及武力脅迫手段,非法要求「低端人口」在三天內搬離居住地。部分民間熱心人士發起行動協助、接濟這群基層勞工,但很快就被當局制止。此舉不單引起境外媒體關注,國內逾3千名知識分子亦聯署,要求當局處理這宗「違反憲法和嚴重踐踏人權的惡性事件」。

今個冬天,北京不單面對著「低端人口」被驅離的危機,天然氣供暖不足和大規模拆卸招牌等政策,都令北京民眾叫苦連天。十九大後,社會看似歌舞昇平,但一片歡騰下的暗湧究竟能否被妥善解決呢?習近平集權以後,政府進一步走向威權政治,這種強硬、粗暴甚至不近人情的施政手法究竟會延續多久呢?北京何時才會走過這個漫長的冬天呢?
北京「切除」:11張圖帶你看懂「低端人口」清退行動 | 端傳媒
https://theinitium.com/…/20171201-mainland-Beijing-uprooted/

北京清理「低端人口」的前因後果 | am730
https://www.am730.com.hk/…/%E5%8C%97%E4%BA%AC%E6%B8%85%E7%9…

林垚:「低端人口」從來都是「低端外來人口」——北京切除的戶籍維度 | 端傳媒
https://theinitium.com/…/20171206-notes-beijing-migrant-ho…/

 

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On November 18, a deadly fire in Daxing, Beijing caused the death of 19 people. DaXing is an area mostly inhabited by migrant workers. The estate concerned is a typical structure that combines commercial production, storage, and housing functions in one facility. A compact living environment, alongside accumulation of unorganised debris, indirectly propagated this tragedy. Following the incident, the Beijing authority established a city-wide movement to clear those living around the periphery.

The “Low-end Population” is coined to describe migrant workers in Beijing, most of whom in low-income occupations such as construction, delivery, sanitation, and security. While many arrived in pursuit of economic opportunities, they have been heavily restricted by the Chinese Hukou system; a local registration system that limit access to education, healthcare, and labour rights in other provinces. Beijing has denied referring to these migrant workers as part of a “Low-end Population”, yet the phrase has been in use in government documents since 2007 and even in “common-folk” propaganda slogans.

In 2012, Beijing had a foreign population of 7.74 million people, which made up 37% of the residential population. In view of the pressure on political security from increased population inflow, coupled with the needs to restructure the industries to accommodate the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Collaborative Development proposal, Xi Jinping demanded the modification and alleviation of non-core functions in Beijing. It was also decided that the upper limit of the permanently residing population of Beijing to be 23 million. Since then, the Beijing authority, on one hand, tighten the Hukou policy, lifting up the requirements for children without a Beijing account from entering schools; on the other hand, closing down small businesses owned by non-Beijing residents.

Following the incident at DaXing, Beijing has resulted to violence in evicting the “Low-end Population”, uncovering these long-standing conflicts to the public. The authorities cut-off water, electricity, and fuel supplies, and threatened with violence to illegally demand the “Low-end Population” to leave their residence within 3 days. Certain eager civilians have initiated projects to support the migrant workers, but were put to a swift end by the authorities. This act not only caught the attention of foreign media, but also led to over 3000 intellectuals joining forces to demand the authorities deal with this “atrocious issue that is anti-constitutional and is a serious violation human rights”.

This winter, Beijing not only faces the dangers of the deportation of the “Low-end Population”. Shortages of natural gas supplies for heating and assorted policies like the large-scale destruction of billboards have left Beijingers in agony. Following the 19th NCCPC, society looks to be in a state of prosperity; yet hidden beneath the apparent joys.

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